Thursday, August 31, 2006
100 comments on a thread!
Oh boy, I'm up there with Atrios and the rest of the big boys!
Well, not quiet :-). But I did get 100 comments on this post. Seems that this particular blog post turns up first in line for people Googling a particular phone number... hmm... Google power to the people! Let the revolution begin! Or maybe not, time to waddle to the refrigerator and get some more herring...
- Badtux the Bigtime Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/31/2006 04:11:00 PM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Hizbollah discovers Democracy
Read this paper by Hizollah's principle political theorist, who is basically Nasrallah's right-hand man. Some choice quotes:
Hezbollah’s insistence that Lebanon’s political system is a democratic consensual one based on the rule of ‘con-sociationism’ as stipulated by the Preamble of the Lebanese Constitution cannot be understood merely as a political response to a particular moment of deep divisions. It reflects a deep transformation in Hezbollah’s understanding of the requirements of the Lebanese political system as well as its appreciation that internal stability is central to every national project if it is to succeed in its pan-Arab and Islamic dimensions.
I.e., if there is internal strife because not every voice is heard and represented in government, if there is struggle between factions because the government does not represent the will of everybody but, rather, represents the will of only a few or even just the will of the Shiite majority in Lebanon, then everybody suffers and Hizbollah's effectiveness at representing its Islamist core constituency deminishes. In other words, he states that Hizbollah believes in democracy of a particularly liberal kind -- a consensual democracy that represents the will of the people as a whole, rather than of just the Shiite majority.
Neither was it possible for the government to enjoy the credibility of wide popular support with Hezbollah outside. This would have left a significant constituency - if not the largest - outside state institutions, with the likely disturbances and instability that this could cause in the Power structure and in its ability to govern.
Because stability is necessary for peace and prosperity, and prosperity is necessary in order to achieve Hizbollah's long-term goals, he argues that the entry of Hizbollah into Lebanese politics is simply a way of helping arrive at the national consensus via what he calls "the national dialogue". In short, Hizbollah's long term goal has to be to build a strong government in Lebanon that reflects the will of the people -- of *all* the people, not just Islamists and not just the Shiite majority -- in order to build the prosperity needed for Hizbollah to achieve its social and and military goals. Contrast this to the Decider's "you're either with us or against us" nonsense, which has achieved nothing other than dividing the American people against each other and is causing a national crisis in the United States where we could shortly be in a civil war that would make the Lebanese civil war look like a piece of cake.
Instead, the aforementioned national dialogue was created. Hezbollah’s attitude towards its political adversaries was reflected once again in the political understanding reached with the Free Patriotic Movement headed by General Aoun. A memorandum of understanding was drafted. It reflected the movement’s attachment to dialogue, its willingness to conclude pragmatic settlements on the basis of political balances, and its concern for political stability. The document constituted a qualitative change in the nature of the existing political coalitions: the two parties represent arguably the two most popular movements in Lebanon, from the Muslim community and from the Christian community respectively, with very different political backgrounds and histories. They succeeded nevertheless in reaching a joint political understanding based on mutual concessions and built consensual approaches to thorny political issues.
You must remember that only 15 years ago, in the October 13 massacre, Hezbollah was one of the militias that slaughtered Aoun's supporters when they overthrew his government with Syrian Army support. Yet now these two bitter enemies are, if not supporters of each other, at least talking and making mutual concessions for the good of Lebanon. Which the Decider and his Republicant Party show a total disinterest in doing. Their idea of "compromise" is "do it my way, period."
This, BTW, is a good counter-example to the "Muslims just want to kill and convert everybody at gunpoint" nonsense. Recent events show that Hezbollah's militia has the military power to impose their rule upon Lebanon if they so desire -- I mean, they fought the IDF to a standstill, and the IDF is far more powerful than the Lebanese Army supported by the other factions (the Christians and the Sunni). Yet instead, Hezbollah has taken a seat at the table, and has accepted the principle that, even though the Shiite are now the majority in Lebanon, that there can be no peace without bringing in the Sunni and Christians and even giving them special priviliges in order to reassure them that the majority doesn't want to harm them.
Factor in Hezbollah leader Nasrallah's recent apology for the capture of the Israeli soldiers, where Nasrallah states that if he had known that Israel would have attacked rather than did a prisoner exchange like they'd done in the past, he wouldn't have done it. He basically apologized to the Lebanese people for a mistake he'd made, and in that same speech also basically placed Hezbollah's militia under the strategic command of the Lebanese government, stating that no matter how many provocations and breaches of the treaty were made by Israel, Hezbollah's military arm would take no offensive actions unless the national dialogue process at the federal government level arrived at a consensus that it was time to act. Shit, if only we Americans had a leader willing to apologize rather than "stay the course"
So, I have one question: if Hizbollah apparently is a bigger believer in democracy than George W. Bush is, then why don't we put *them* in charge of "bringing democracy to Iraq" rather than the Bush Administration? Oh sure, there's that little bit of American law making it illegal to trade with terrorists, but look, that's just a piece of paper, just like the Constitution...
-- Badtux the "Hmm, who's the bigger terrorist?" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/30/2006 09:38:00 PM
Lebanon is, like, so *OVER*
Except it's not.
Last I heard, imposing a blockade is an act of war. Hizbollah says it will not resume imposing its own economic blocade upon northern Israel (i.e., raining rockets onto Haifa to keep ships away) unless the Lebanese government asks it to do so, but this could turn into a hot war again at any time.
Meanwhile, not only Lebanon is suffering, but Jordan (our "ally") and Syria are suffering too. Most of their shipping came in via Beirut and Tyre. We are talking about ancient cities that have been seaports since before the first war-like Arabs drifted up out of the southern deserts into ancient Palestine, conquered large parts of the place from the Phoenicians, adopted features of the surrounding region's religions into their monotheistic sheep-herder's religion, and called themselves "Israelites". (Yep, the historical Israelites are *ARABS*). We are talking about cities that pre-date *BIBLICAL* Israel -- yep, cities older than the Bible. They exist for one reason only -- trade. And Israel is cutting that off, resulting in much hardship all around.
Meanwhile, the French refuse to deploy the 5,000 troops they earlier promised because of some sort of bullshit political crap, the Italians are deploying on an Italian schedule (i.e., slow, slow, slow), and people are suffering. And nobody gives a shit. Because, of course, they're only untermenschen, unseemly mud people. Not real people, God's Chosen People, Republicans. Will the hereditary regime of No Republican Millionaire Left Behind intervene to clean this shit up and get people back to normal life? HAH! We're talking about the same goddam gang that still, a year later, has only managed to clean half the debris out of New Orleans! Ask them to FIX something? F***, all they can do is destroy and kill. That's all they know how to do. "Ugh! Me Bush! Me bash baddy with club! Ugh!". Fix something?! Yeah right...
-- Badtux the "It ain't over yet" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/30/2006 12:44:00 PM
The Mighty Fang is now down to a sveldt 15 pounds of sleeky shiny feline. Still a lapful, but he can go off his diet now. Maybe he'll stop drooling as he looks up into my face now (heh!).
I'm 2 pounds from my own goal of losing 20 pounds. When I get there, I'll order a big pizza with black olive, pepperoni, and jalapeno and celebrate. Then I'll go back on a diet to lose the weight gained from that pizza :-). But seriously, next step is exercise and a sensible diet (gasp! Eating sensibly! How horrible an idea!). And avoiding pizza except for once a month to celebrate surviving another month (hey, in penguin years I'm over 200 years old, every month is worth celebrating now :-).
-- Badtux the Not-as-rotund Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/30/2006 12:36:00 PM
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Audiovox CCS-100 update
Well, turns out that I'm not the first person to try hooking this cruise control to a KLR after all. This guy did it before me.
Darn, now I'm not the pioneer here! Although my installation is mechanically different from his because I have luggage racks on my bike and because it is a California KLR I have a bracket on the left rear for the evap canister, thus mounted my servo back there, plus I attached to the throttle a different way (a way that will result in less binding and cable wear than his way, because I have the cable coming straight down at the throttle rather than at an angle).
So my current status is that I'm building a wire harness as I go with black electrical tape (the self-sticking type) and thus far have made it from under the back fender to the engine side of the front seat bracket, where I need to hook to the rear brake light connectors for the disconnect. The ground wire comes out of the harness about halfway down the seat area, and hooks up to the bolt that holds the cable clamp that holds the wire harness for the tail light, brake light, license plate light, and turn signals. Once I get that done, I then wind up with the rest of the wiring harness going to the coil area, where I hook the tach wire to the appropriate coil terminal. From thence I go to the fairing area, and then up the handlebar with the rest of the (many) wires going up there (why many wires? Heated grips and a GPS plug, that's why).
I'm almost disappointed I found someone who'd done it before. Now it's going to be easy! Darn, where's the challenge in that?!
-- Badtux the Mechanic Penguin
Update as of 9:40pm: Now have all the wires where they need to go. Now all I need to do is fabricate a bracket for the control panel and do the final hookup of the control panel... probably going to use a small tupperware container with a couple of fender washers for a dashboard mount for the control panel and heated grips toggle that won't kill me if I go flying over the handlebars. Yeah, I'm gonna go down the road with tupperware bolted to my handlebars!
Posted by: BadTux / 8/29/2006 03:24:00 PM
Sigh. You'd think Google, of all people, would at least know how to run a server farm... but all the Blogspot-hosted sites I just tried are giving an error.
Now you know why I pay to host my site elsewhere now.
Posted by: BadTux / 8/29/2006 01:22:00 PM
I am worshipped
The mighty Fang has taken to sitting in my lap and gazing up into my eyes with a worshipfull expression on his furry little kitty face. Well, big kitty face - he's 18 pounds, after all! Yes, quite a lapfull, his butt is over thin air on one side and his paws are over thin air on the other.
I find it somewhat disconcerting. Most cats want you to worship them, not the other way around. If I wanted to be worshipped, I would get a dog.
Of course, it might just be that he's purring because he's thinking about what a nice meal I'd be...
Badtux the "What's for dinner" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/29/2006 12:05:00 PM
Monday, August 28, 2006
Bush Presidency by the numbers: 99.5% corrupt
From AP via ABC News:
One year after Katrina, large areas of New Orleans remain virtually uninhabitable with piles of debris and wrecked cars.
Only $117 million in at least $25 billion in federal aid has reached the city, while federal investigators determined that roughly $2 billion in taxpayer money was wasted in no-bid contracts and disaster aid to people who did not need the help.
Let's see, that's $25 billion in federal aid, $117 million actually got where it was needed, that means.... duh, 99.5% of the money went to Bush cronies as corruption and 0.5% of the money actually reached the people who needed it.
Yessiree, that's the Bush Presidency in a nutshell: 99.5% corrupt. I mean, even Imelda Marcos with her closets full of shoes wasn't *this* corrupt, this is beyond 3rd world levels of corruption, this is just an astounding level of corruption beyond any I've ever heard of anywhere. I think this surpasses even President Ullysses S. Grant's record for Presidential corruption. But US Grant had an excuse -- he spent most of his Presidency passed out drunk. Dear Leader has no such excuse. Or does he?!
-- Badtux the "Can we call him corrupt, now?" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/28/2006 02:24:00 PM
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wish me luck...
I am about to go out and attempt to install an Audiovox CCS-100 cruise control onto a Kawasaki KLR-650 to have the world's one and only KLR-650 motorcycle with electronic cruise control.
Wish me luck, guys!
-Badtux the Mechanic Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/26/2006 12:49:00 PM
Get to the back of the bus
Well, since the left blogosphere is going nuts over the allegations of black kids sent to the back of the bus:
Folks, I'd suggest keeping a whole box full of salt (not just a grain of salt) handy. I know the bus supervisor for the Red River Parish schools personally, he is a military retiree and also supervises a bunch of other stuff (he's the truant officer, the discipline officer, the student information systems officer, etc.) and indeed recruited a number of black teachers for the school district from the ranks of fellow military retirees. This is a school district which has been successfully integrated for years now, both in the schools and in the employee corps, where there have been multiple black principals in the past 20 years and multiple black central office administrators in the past 20 years. This isn't Little Rock circa 1956 with a white governor standing in the doorway of an all-white school saying "no nigger is ever gonna attend Little Rock High". This is the 21st century, folks.
I don't know the Williams kids personally (it's been over 10 years since I taught in the Red River Parish schools, they would have been toddlers), but I do know the type. There are certain areas of Red River Parish that are, let us say, inbred. Some are black areas, some are white areas. Their kids go to school because the law says they have to, but let us just say they go to school for all the wrong reasons -- lunch and entertainment.
Any 16 year old girl who is still in middle school (Red River has two schools -- a combined elementary-middle school, and a high school) is one thing and one thing only: Trouble with a capital "T". I probably taught her mother's younger sister, and I can tell you that at that point, they go to school for no reason other than meals and entertainment -- entertainment being to see in how many ways they can torment their fellow students, bus drivers, and teachers. I had one of the 16 year old middle school students tell me that he hadn't done any school work since the 4th grade, wasn't going to do any now, and his granny didn't care. I asked his 4th grade teacher (who was the black principal of this particular school) whether that was true, and she said "yeah".
So did it happen or no? Well, all we have is the word of the student. I can tell you as someone who was personally lied about by 16 year old black middle school students in Red River Parish that they are very well aware of the power of accusations of racism, and will make unwarranted accusations in a heartbeat if you're "mean to them" (i.e., expect them to behave like normal kids rather than as violent criminals). They have the school administration cowed there in that parish with their ability to call in the Office of Civil Rights in a heartbeat to make the school district spend thousands of dollars defending themselves against something they didn't do, and I can very well imagine that if the bus driver got peeved at a black kid and wrote her up, the black kid would make an unfounded complaint of racial bias. Been there, done that, told them to "Go fuck yourself" and got out of there, if the kids don't want to learn and their parents don't give a shit I don't see why I should bother.
In short: Take this with a grain of salt. Racism most certainly isn't dead in Red River Parish, but it's most certainly dead in the Red River Parish School District, and they have the legal scars and track record to prove it. My guess is that these kids decided to gang up on that white bus driver because she was "mean to them" i.e. expected them to behave like students rather than criminals (and yes, they do that, been there, done that) and they know that an unwarranted accusation of racism will get them assigned a different bus driver who will perhaps be more tolerant of their bullying of smaller kids, screaming, and throwing of food and other objects. And it succeeded.
-- Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/26/2006 11:31:00 AM
Friday, August 25, 2006
Stupid lawyer thinks darky has "rights"
Mr Iqbal's lawyers say his arrest violates his right to free speech.
Puh-LEEZE. Just look at that NAME. "Iqbal". OBVIOUSLY he's one of those DARKIES, you know, THEM, THOSE PEOPLE. He has no human rights because he isn't human. He's just a cockroach, to be crushed for his audacity in daring to broadcast a channel on his cable TV system that our Glorious Leader and His holy administration don't want to be broadcasted.
Stupid lawyer then goes on to say: "It's like the government of Iran saying we are going to ban the New York Times because we think of it as a terrorist outfit, or China saying we will ban CNN," a spokesman for the law firm representing Mr Iqbal told the Reuters news agency.
"America would be hopping up and down crying freedom of speech and freedom of the press."
A lawyer representing Mr Iqbal said he knew of no other case where a person had been accused of breaking US law by offering access to news outlets via satellite dish.
C'mon, the New York Times or CNN are official publications of the Glorious People's Republic of the United States, so of COURSE they have more rights than those filthy darky channels. I mean, this is the United States of America, where the only proper place for darkies is at the back of the bus... what, those two-legged cockroaches think we ought to be able to listen to their side of the story rather than just blindly follow our Glorious Leader wherever He says to go and believe whatever He asks us to believe in His official news organs (not to be confused with His sexual organs)? Puh-LEEZE! George W. Bush is our Lord and Savior, and His word is all the Word we need!
--- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/25/2006 07:53:00 AM
Thursday, August 24, 2006
From an Arab site: "He uses legitimate grievances to gather support for his fucked-up cause. He cares nothing about human equality or liberty. He just exploits the regions suffering for his own ideological purposes."
Question: is this guy talking about George W. Bush, or Osama bin Laden?
And is there any difference between Osama and George anyhow, in the end, other than that George has a lot more bombs and bullets to do his killing for him?
-- Badtux the Terrorist-observing Penguin
PS: The above quote was actually referring to Osama bin Laden. But made ya think for a moment, huh?
Posted by: BadTux / 8/24/2006 06:13:00 PM
Freedom? Yeah right.
A New York cable executive has been arrested for broadcasting a channel on his cable system that the U.S. authorities did not want broadcasted. Was this channel pornography? Well, no. Did this channel advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government? Well, no, actually it didn't mention much about the United States at all, other than occasional condemnations of its unquestioning support for Israel.
Which, of course, is the problem. We can't let people view Arab voices on cable television, after all. Why, they might even decide to *think for themselves* if they see any voices other than the same old, same old that tell them what they're supposed to think every day!
No, we must ban al-Manar Television from U.S. cable systems, or the terrorists have won! Remember, the terrorists want to destroy our freedoms. If we don't destroy our freedoms before the terrorists do, why, that's a victory for the terrorists, right? Right?!
But we're free. Really!
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/24/2006 05:56:00 PM
I pruned some of the deadwood out of the blogroll in the right margin, and added a few Arab or "old Arab hand" voices so you can check out some voices that you won't hear via the censored American media (see the ones with '#' by them). I will add a few more Middle Eastern blogs shortly, including a couple of Iranian (Persian) blogs (note to the willfully ignorant out there -- Iranians are *NOT* Arabs! Sheesh!). If you know a site I should read (or should prune off my blogroll!), please let us know in comments to this post.
- Badtux the Blogrolling Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/24/2006 04:21:00 PM
Given America's narcissitic self-absorption and nearly invincible ignorance, it's unlikely such an array of egotism, exceptionalism, entitlement and omnipotence could produce anything but disastrous leadership. Still, as our late friend Zia-ul-Haq would say, "What can you do? Do all you can and hope for the best." -- A former CIA operative who spent a lot of time in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the mujahdeen era, talking about why he is opposing the Bush administration despite having little hope that any better leadership will take its place.
I don't know if there's anything I can add to that.
-- Badtux the Realistic Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/24/2006 10:49:00 AM
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Nobel Prize winner in critical condition
The winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature is reported to be in critical condition. His declining health is no surprise, since he is 95 years old, but as probably the most famous Egyptian novelist, Naguib Mahfouz will be mourned by most of the Arab world.
Yes, the Arab world has novelists. What, you thought they were all illiterates living in mud huts, herding sheep and riding camels? Remember, Egypt had civilization when Europeans were all a bunch of ignorant illiterates wearing animal skins and knocking each other over the head with rocks, over a thousand years before the Greeks developed the first literate European civilization. The predominant Arabic literary tradition is poetry, but sometimes they do lower themselves to prose...
- Badtux the Literary Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/23/2006 04:39:00 PM
That Iranian nuclear program...
Well, it's in the news again. Dear Leader sez it's just unacceptable, totally unacceptable, for the Iranians to be enriching uranium.
Thing is, their uranium enrichment program isn't particularly important to their nuclear weapons program. A uranium bomb is too heavy to put onto a missile warhead, and the resulting bomb has relatively little power compared to modern thermonuclear devices.
The core of Iran's nuclear program is their plutonium extraction process, which in turn is based around the heavy water reactor that they are building near the heavy water plant that they just finished building -- a heavy water plant, I might add, which is identical to the one Pakistan used as part of their nuclear weapons program, and the satellite photos I've seen of the reactor under construction seem to show it's identical to Pakistan's weapons reactor also. But I forget, these are being built with our "ally's" help (Pakistan's help), so Dear Leader must focus on the civilian nuclear program to distract attention from the fact that it is our "friends" who are giving Iran the bomb...
The civilian program (the light water reactor and the uranium enrichment program) is important to Iran's long-term weapons program, but only as a means of gaining experience with nuclear technology. Their actual weapons program is elsewhere, being built with the help of our "friends", an inconvenient fact that nobody seems willing to point out.
-Badtux the Thermonuclear Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/23/2006 01:13:00 PM
"We" are the good guys. "Those" people are just savages, who want to exterminate anybody who is like them. Thus we must kill them all before they kill us.
I was listening to a former Israeli tank commander rant about the Palestinian "problem" (said problem being, they have no nation that will accept them as citizens -- gosh, identical to the Jewish "problem" in 1938, when Eichmann was trying to deport all the Jews of Germany but could find no nation willing to take them!). Said he, "Those people" (note the "those") "are just savages. Dirty beasts. We should exterminate them all." He claimed he was happy when he got the chance to shell their homes with his tank's main gun, because "it's what they all deserve."
"Those" people. "Them". "They". They're not like us. , whoever "they" are. They're untermenschen, unseemly mud people, worthy of only exterminating like a cockroach. In a particularly ugly comment from below, whose poster apparently didn't realize what ugliness she was posting, I saw the phrase: "Look at what they do: Sudan."
"They". Cockroaches. Untermenschen. Whoever "they" is, which is rather interesting in Sudan because "they" are all Africans and the fighting there has nothing to do with race or religion, it is a classical water war between nomads and farmers, where the nomads have been driven from their traditional ranges by drought and desertification and are taking the lands of the farmers as their new range, a story in Africa as old as the continent. Indeed, it is the same story as Rwanda, where the nomads (the Tutsi) came in and smashed the farmers (the Hutu), then were set up as official overlords back in colonial days by the French, who liked the Tutsi's style (the Tutsis being tall and elegant drivers of cattle, the Hutu being short squat dirt farmers). The Hutu got theirs back in the end -- they snuck up on the Tutsi and slaughtered them with machetes -- just another African genocidal war between nomads and farmers.
Which has to do with the situation in the Middle East exactly... uhm, not. Neither the Arabs nor the Jews in the vicinity of Palestine are nomads. They've been settled-down farmers for over 2,000 years. Hell, they're the same damned genetic stock, they have the same damned national cuisines (go into a Lebanese restaurant and go into an Israeli restaurant and you can get taboulleh and falafal), their big difference is just some stupid quibble over how to worship the Invisible Sky Demon that they worship. Well, that and the fact that one group of these Invisible Sky Demon worshippers threw another group of Invisible Sky Demon worshippers off their land back in 1948, which has been a source of trouble ever since. If they only worshipped the Great Penguin like all us Tuxologists, they would never have bothered, they'd be too busy sitting fat and happy with a half-eaten herring in their mouth. Unfortunately, most of the world has not yet received the wisdom of the Great Penguin and still worships other gods, maybe because the Great Penguin, as mentioned earlier, isn't much of a kick-ass deity -- I mean, c'mon, can you imagine a penguin turning a couple of cities into giant fireballs just 'cause it don't like the way the folks there have sex with each other? Huh?
Now, there's a big problem with the Arab notion that the problem of Palestine is a problem of illegal immigration. Frankly, it's been 60 years. 80% of the Jewish population of Israel was born there (the other 20% are immigrants). Only 30% of the Jewish population of Israel are descended from Middle Eastern or North African Jews (what the Arabs consider to be "Arab Jews" who belong there), the rest are descended from European or Russian Jews (who the Arabs consider to be illegal immigrants who illegally settled in Palestine and forced the rightful inhabitants out at gunpoint). You get the picture -- at least 50% of the Jewish population actually born in Israel would be deported under the Arab plan, but there's no place to deport them to. Sort of like how Eichmann wanted to deport the German Jews in 1938, but nobody would take them.
We all know where that one ends up -- concentration camps. And we all know what happens in the end with concentration camps.
The problem is that Israel is basically a concentration camp for the world's unwanted Jews, the Jews who have no other place to go. So they aren't going to go away voluntarily. They have no place to go. But demographics and economics say that eventually there's not going to be any choice. In the past Israel managed to win its wars and insure its continued existence due to spectacular incompetence on the part of Arab leaders and the backwardness of the Arab nations. But the Arab nations have made spectacular leaps and bounds in education over the past 40 years, and those children are now attaining positions of leadership. The recent Hizbullah fiasco in southern Lebanon may be an indication that the era of relying on the incompetence of Arabs may be over. In that case, the only thing that can maintain Israel as a viable state is massive assistance from the United States, which prefers those unwanted Jews to be Over There rather than Over Here. But the United States itself is swiftly losing the ability to provide such assistance due to its own economic and military problems.
So in the end, if Israel attempts to maintain itself as an ethnically and religiously Jewish state with preferential treatment for Jews, there will be a "Black Tuesday" where the last Israeli tank is destroyed outside the gates of Jeruselem and the Arab tanks pour in. The demographics and economics simply are too overwhelming in the long term. If the state of Israel has more than 20 years left in its current form, I will be quite surprised. Then what? Well, history isn't reassuring there. See, e.g., the history of the Spanish Reconquista, what they did when they reconquered their country from the Arab invaders. It wasn't pretty.
The only "real" solution is a multi-cultural state. There even is something of a model immediately to the north of Israel, where four large distinct religious groups manage to live (mostly) in peace with each other though they did fight a rather bloody civil war for 15 years before they figured out how to live with each other. The Lebanese democracy is fragile, and not everybody buys into it yet -- Hizbullah being the 500 pound guerilla in the closet there -- but despite the past history of mass murders, ethnic cleansings, etc. in Lebanon, from the time the peace treaty ending the war was signed in 1990 until the recent events Lebanon was a fairly peaceful place where the majority of people managed to get along with each other despite their differences. The Maronite Christians in Lebanon are in much the same position that the Jews in Israel would be in if the Palestinians were allowed to return home -- i.e., a minority in a country that was theirs for decades -- yet nobody is trying to exterminate the Maronites, and indeed, they were instrumental in getting Hizbullah its seats in the Lebanese parliament as part of their plan to get Hizbullah to "buy in" to that whole "democracy" thing and quit running around like they were their own nation-state, a plan which Israel has temporarily derailed by turning Hizbullah into Lebanese national heros but which everybody in Lebanon wants to have happen because Hizbullah is the last of the holdouts, the last group standing to have its own militia.
If the Israeli Jews want to survive past the next 20 years, they had better come to the realization that they will have to learn from the Lebanese how to live in peace in a multicultural society, and start the process as soon as possible before the Arabs force the issue at gunpoint at which point the results will be, well, unfortunate. Unfortunately, that will not happen. Because as far as the Israeli Jews are concerned, anyone who is not a Jew is "they", "those" people. And we all know about "those" people, right?
- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/23/2006 09:54:00 AM
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
"Eliminating the Zionist regime"
The Arab and Iranian leaders talk a lot of talk about "destroying the Zionist regime", which American propaganda sheets (so-called "newspapers", though they print propaganda, not news, so I don't know why they're called that) of course translate as "destroy Israel" and which right-wing pro-Israeli types translate as "exterminate all the Jews in Israel."
Question is, how accurate is that translation? Because the Arabs will win, in the long run. Simple math says this -- as Arab states modernize and become more powerful, Israel can only exist with massive U.S. support, but the U.S. is itself swiftly losing the ability to give such support. So the answer to that translation question is important.
To test the waters, I did some Google searches and found some anti-Israeli sites run by Arabs, and asked the question there: If Israel is destroyed, what happens to the Jews in Israel?
The answer I got back was simple. They view the problem of Israel as being an illegal immigration problem. They deport the Russian Jews back to Russia, they deport the European Jews back to Europe, they deport the Ethiopian Jews back to Ethiopia, and as for the Arab and other Middle Eastern Jews, well, they're Arabs, so they belong there and they have no problem with the Arab Jews staying there and living in peace as they did for over a thousand years before the founding of the modern state of Israel. Then they ideally would want to see a democracy in the new democratic state of Palestine -- a democracy which would of course be majority-Arab and majority-Muslim due to simple demographics (once the Palestinians are allowed to go home), but a democracy nonetheless.
I must say that this does not jibe at all with the "they want to exterminate all the Jews!" rhetoric coming out of the right wing. I don't get that answer from actual Middle Eastern Arabs, although granted, these are educated Arabs who are politically more pro-democracy and liberal than probably the majority of Arabs. I wonder, has anybody else here asked actual Middle Eastern Arabs what they want to do about the Jews in Israel once the Arabs defeat the Israeli military and let the Palestinians go home? And what answers did you get? Did you hear anything FROM ACTUAL ARABS THAT YOU PERSONALLY INTERACTED WITH that would suggest that Arabs want to commit genocide against Israel's Jews, or are the only such assertions only heard in "translations" published in propaganda journals ("newspapers") or bald assertions by propagandists ("newsmen" and "talk show hosts")?
-- Badtux the Curious Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/22/2006 04:36:00 PM
Why attacking Iran is a *very* bad idea...
China's foreign-currency reserves have overtaken those of Japan to become the world's largest as the central bank buys dollars and sells yuan to keep the exchange-rate stable. Its holdings surged 32.8 percent from a year ago to $875.1 billion as of the end of March, the central bank said on April 14.
China is the number one oil and gas importer from Iran. The two countries are bound by energy deals reaching a total value of $120 billion and growing.
Since China is a Communist dictatorship, they could care less about the value of the Yuan if they flood the market with all those dollars. But they have the ability to destroy the U.S. dollar and destroy the U.S. treasury all in one fell swoop (most of those dollar holdings are U.S. treasury bonds -- approximately 1/4th of the U.S. treasuries outstanding WORLD-WIDE, the rest are in the Social Security trust fund).
If the dollar is worthless, the U.S. government won't be able to sell treasury bonds. If the U.S. government can't sell treasury bonds, the U.S. government is bankrupt.
In short: China needs Iran, and they have the U.S. by the balls, thanks to the inept borrow-and-spend policies of the Bush Administration, which has managed to put our nation's fiscal health into the hands of a Communist dictatorship.
Nevertheless, I expect the bombs to be falling on Iran by November 1 at the latest.
-- Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/22/2006 04:05:00 PM
I got spam
What is it with all these widows of deceased African dictators who want to give me money? Do they love penguins that much? And then there's the ones promising me a giant penis. My question with that one is, who hunted down the giant and cut off his penis, and why would I want this bloody trophy anyhow? Is there some land somewhere that the Jolly Green Giant and Paul Bunyon and the Jack and the Beanstalk giant are all standing around holding their hands between their legs, moaning in pain because someone took a hatchet to their thang while they slept? Then there's the ones offering to sell me the secret of weight loss. Hmm. "Eat fewer calories than you burn". Yeah, that's a secret apparently, given all the fat slobs I see on the streets, but c'mon, I wouldn't pay more than a nickel for it.
And finally: When my mail server's spam filter is outright rejecting over a thousand of these messages per day, and routing another 150 per day to my spambox because it's not sure, why am I still seeing twenty or more of these per day in my inbox?
Personally, I think all these spammers ought to get the same treatment as the giants they've taken hatchets to for those giant penises that they're selling. But that's just my opinion, y'know?
-- Badtux the Spammed Penguin
PS: One of my aquaintances of the female persuasion says she especially loves the giant penis spam. When I asked her why she wanted a giant penis, did she want it for her fireplace mantel or something, she stared at me for a few minutes then began giggling for some reason she won't tell me... BTW, penguins don't have penises. They have cloaca. Did you know that?
Posted by: BadTux / 8/22/2006 07:10:00 AM
Monday, August 21, 2006
Meanwhile, back at the morgue...
3400 dead in Iraq in the month of July. Just in case you're wondering, Iraq's population is about 1/20th that of the United States. So that's the equivalent of 68,000 Americans dying in one month. Furthermore, it's around 40,000 Iraqis dying per year -- or as much per *YEAR* as Saddam is accused of killing during his last *TEN* years in power.
Mission accomplished? Only if the mission was to be ten times worse than Saddam. Congratulations, America, you're worse mass murderers than Saddam was!
In other news, Saddam is on trial (again!) for actions he took during Iraq's civil war where the Kurds tried to secede in 1988. Problem is, it's unclear Saddam did anything different in that civil war than Abraham Lincoln did when he unleashed Sherman to burn his way to the sea. I suppose Abraham Lincoln was a war criminal? Well, I'm sure you'll find some folks in Georgia and South Carolina who might argue that, but really...
Given the news that the Bush administration is quietly considering installing a dictator in Iraq to tame the civil war there, it kinda makes ya wonder, "hmm, why did we invade Iraq again?" I suppose it was because of
weapons of mass destruction al Qaeda connections free the Iraqi people bring democracy to Iraq improve Halliburton's profits. Yeah, sounds about right...
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/21/2006 12:02:00 PM
Friday, August 18, 2006
The downside of worshipping a penguin
I noted before that I wished that all the violent armed people of the world could be put into cages, unarmed, for them to pummel each other mano a mano for as long as they wished and the rest of us be left in peace. This, unfortunately, brings up a real downside of Tuxology: The Great Penguin just isn't much of a deity when it comes to kicking ass, unless you happen to be a herring. Praying to Him to get off His big fat behind and do something other than snooze contentedly as his fat belly digests his last meal of herring on his ice flow in the Great White Paradise has proven to be of little use. Us Tuxologists simply have a deity who, well, prefers snoozing to doing shit.
The Invisible Sky Demon that Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship, on the other hand, is a much more satisfyingly kick-ass deity. C'mon, we're talking about a dude who talks out of a burning bush and Jerry Falwell's fertile imagination, both of which are pretty intense. Whereas the Great Penguin talks out of, well, a dead herring head. Okay, okay, so the Great Penguin more properly squawks out of a dead herring head, let's not quibble details, okay? The Invisible Sky Demon does shit like incinerate cities, turn people into pillars of salt, and heck, one time he even tortured this poor slob named Job and when Job asked him why, he basically said "because I felt like it." The Invisible Sky Demon is definitely no wimp do-nothing deity! The Great Penguin, on the other hand... well, he occasionally waddles, but he doesn't seem to do much. Waddles, eat herring, sleeps... that's about it. Well, and incubate the occasional egg that turns into a universe, but hey, that creation shit is hard work, y'know, and a deity needs His rest, right?
With that in mind, I decided that praying to the Great Penguin to take all these violent evil people and put them into one giant Ultimate Cage Slugfest was a waste of my time. So instead, I decided to pray to the Invisible Sky Demon. Unfortunately, praying to the Invisible Sky Demon hasn't thus far produced any results. Criminals with guns are still roaming around everywhere kicking the shit out of innocents who just want to go about their life in peace. I dunno, maybe the Invisible Sky Demon thought that I was asking for world peas rather than world peace. But even so, I don't see lots of peas either. Well, except at the grocery store.
Perhaps the Invisible Sky Demon is just being stubborn, and needs a bribe. But what do you bribe an Invisible Sky Demon with? I mean, with the Great Penguin it's easy. You bribe Him with herring. In desperation I thought about giving money to the Invisible Sky Demon's representatives on Earth. Like, that Jerry Falwell dude seems to be sufficiently evil to really have a direct line to the Invisible Sky Demon's lair. But Jerry took my money, but refused to carry my message to the Invisible Sky Demon, saying that it was the Invisible Sky Demon's will for a small group of criminals amongst human beings to kill innocents while in the process of squabbling over patches of land that nobody in their right mind would ever want.
I dunno, maybe having a penguin as your deity isn't so bad after all. At least the Great Penguin doesn't desire for humans to kill each other, unlike, apparently, the Invisible Sky Demon. Of course, as a penguin, He doesn't desire much at all except herring and sex, but given the alternative, maybe that's a good thing?
-- Badtux the Tuxologist Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/18/2006 03:27:00 PM
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Moderate Arabs ask: "Where are the moderate Americans?"
The Arabist, a moderate Egyptian, poses this as the core issue with moderate Arabs. They see an American foreign policy that appears to be "bomb'em all and let God sort'em out", that is an uncritical rubber stamp for the actions of one particular group of criminals while ignoring why another group of criminals gets popular support, and they wonder: Where are the moderate Americans? When is there going to be an America that supports moderates in the Middle East, rather than repressive dictatorships or religious extremists?
Unfortunately, I have a rather sad answer for him. The majority of Americans would gladly kill him with no more thought than squashing a cockroach. Because he, or anybody else who is "not American", simply is not human to them.
Unfortunately, the stereotypes that most of the world holds about the majority of Americans being loud, ignorant and violent are true. When I tell my co-workers that, here in one of the few places in the United States that are not like that, they look at me in disbelief. But I have lived all over the United states and found that the majority of Americans have a simple moral equation: Americans = people, foreigners = not people. American newspapers even have a rule that one American is worth 1,000 foreigners when deciding whether to put a story on the front page or not. If there is a train crash in Nigeria that kills 500 people, it gets no mention at all in the American press unless at least one American (i.e. real person) gets killed. 1,000 Nigerians, well, then it might get mentioned. Or might not. They’re just dirty wogs, untermenschen, unseemly mud people, after all.
When I tell my co-workers (who are mostly foreign-born) that the majority of Americans outside of this enclave of sanity we live in would happily kill them if their leaders told them to do so, with no more thought than killing a cockroach, they say “No way!”. After all, they walk around and they see a sane society. Unfortunately, said sane society does not extend more than a few blocks away from the major cities. Outside that… well, you have a few sane people, but the rest are, by any definition of sanity, totally insane. They pray to Jesus before breaking bread, then talk about how “we should kill all those Arabs because they hate us all.” Nevermind that Jesus never spoke of killing anybody… it doesn’t matter. They see no difference between the killing of some darky overseas, and killing of the wild animals that they love to hunt and slaughter. Both are just animals, as far as they’re concerned.
People ask me, “if the majority of Americans are like that, why do you stay in America?” I answer that I was born here. But the more I see of the country that I was born in, the more I wonder if that’s a sufficient answer.
-- Badtux the Disappointed Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/17/2006 05:45:00 PM
Mimus Pauley, in comments below, says about Lebanon: "I have no idea who won. All I know is that the people of Lebanon lost..."
That, indeed, is the crux of the thing. Frankly, I could care less who "won". Those fighting on either side are all criminals, in my opinion, and if I could, I'd put them all in a cage and let them fight it out mano a mano where nobody else can get hurt. The real losers are those who did nothing, who lost all their possessions or even their lives for no good reason that I can see, for an objective which has not been attained and indeed probably is unattainable by either side. While the bastards on either side make grandious statements, the vast majority, who just want to live in peace, get plastered.
In this particular war of criminals against criminals, the Lebanese people got plastered by one particular group of criminals to the tune of over a thousand dead and $8.5 billion dollars worth of damage. Undoubtedly if the particular group of criminals in southern Lebanon had possessed the capability, the Israeli people would have also gotten plastered -- said criminals certainly had the desire, if not the capability, and did manage to accidentally kill a few people while trying. In the end, when criminals fight, the only winners are criminals, and the real losers are the innocents all around.
- Badtux the "Cage Fights for Criminals!" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/17/2006 11:01:00 AM
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Hmm, what's missing from that list?
BTW, the Lebanese dude who made up that list is now being Freeped big time. Go by and give him some love -- let him know that all Americans aren't Freepers.
-- Badtux the "Mission Accomplished?" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/16/2006 12:34:00 PM
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
How will Lebanon put 15,000 soldiers in the south?
On paper, the Lebanese army might look sorta impressive. Buncha tanks, a few fighter bombers, some artillery, that sorta thing.
Problem is, none of that stuff works. The tanks and fighter bombers are in storage for lack of spare parts, the artillery, well, nobody knows how to work it and they don't have any ammo for it if they did (it's a mixture of British, American, and Soviet-era artillery, no common calibres), and their "paper" strength of 40,000 is actually closer to 10,000. So basically we're talking about a "military" that is pretty much the U.S. Border Patrol + U.S. Coast Guard, spending most of their time patrolling the borders for drug smugglers in light pickup trucks, a few choppers for patrolling the more rugged areas, a few coast guard cutters for sea rescue and to intervene with smugglers, that sorta thing.
Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Lebanon will deploy 15,000 soldiers to southern Lebanon shortly. They're already there, in fact, and have been there for the past month. They're just waiting for their new uniforms.
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
PS: this kinda crap is why Israel lost the PR war. As tech-savvy Lebanese newspapers and Beirut-based reporters headed south and splashed pictures of dead women and children killed by Israeli bombs across the world, the IDF's response to the press was to beat them and steal their cameras. Real swift, dudes! Way to win friends and influence people!
Posted by: BadTux / 8/15/2006 02:55:00 PM
World Nut Daily: "London bombers not al Qaeda operation"
Yeppers, we've hit the time of day at which a stopped clock (World Nut Daily, which I read so you don't have to :-) is right. They point out that Osama threatened to attack America directly and has done all the necessary jihad things (the warnings, the demands to convert, etc.) in preparation to that, and that the London "shampoo bombers" were just a bunch of green recruit wanna-bes. Their notion of exploding MEKP bombs in air liners would have caused havoc but would not have downed the airliners (unless they got *very* lucky), and that's assuming they did n't blow themselves up making the MEKP in the first place (idiots tend to win Darwin Awards doing such things).
Osama is still planning to attack America -- perhaps with medical waste "dirty bombs" in cargo containers -- and Homeland Security is doing jack shit about it.
Only question is whether Osama is going to launch an "October Surprise" to get the Republicans re-elected. After all, the Republicans have been very good for Osama, what with the thousands of recruits they've won for his cause, and so forth...
-- Badtux the "I read World Nut Daily so you don't have to" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/15/2006 10:22:00 AM
The final toll
A little over a month ago, a group of criminals in southern Lebanon snuck across the Israeli border and kidnapped a couple of soldiers.
In retaliation for the action of a small group of criminals, Israel invaded Lebanon, spent approximately $2 billion dollars to do $2.5 billion dollars worth of damage to Lebanon's infrastructure, displace a million Lebanese civilians from the lower 1/3rd of the country (Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East that is more densely populated than Israel), killed over a thousand Lebanese civilians and over a hundred Israelis (more Israeli soldiers than civilians, ironically -- if Hizbollah was targetting civilians and Israel was targetting Hizbollah guerillas, both have bad aim), forever tarnished Israel's reputation in the non-Arab world thanks to the steady stream of gruesome pictures of dead women and children that Lebanon's media-savvy newspapers made sure got pumped onto the wires non-stop, and for what? 15,000 Lebanese "soldiers" on the border to "disarm" Hizbullah as called for in the new cease-fire agreement? As World Nut Daily (a fervent supporter of Israel) points out, the Lebanese "army" doesn't even *have* 15,000 "soldiers" -- remember, Lebanon's "army" was a few thousand border patrol guards, rather than a real army in any sense of the word. These "soldiers" are likely to be Hizbullah guerillas with spiffy new uniforms.
This has been a disaster both for Israel and for Lebanon. War usually is a disaster, thus why it is something that should be engaged in only reluctantly and if there is no other choice. If a group of criminals kidnaps a couple of your soldiers, the solution is to go after those criminals with commando teams and other means, you don't destroy another country just because those criminals have taken over a part of it. Hell, if that was a sane thing to do, we'd be invading Mexico right now, because the drug gangs have taken over most major towns in northern Mexico and regularly export their violence into America.
As for the brave warriors of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders who've risked all (well, risked carpal tunnel syndrome anyhow) with their rabid support of war, they're busy cleaning up their mommy's basement. All those wads of crumpled Kleenex are starting to reek a bit, y'know...
-- Badtux the "War sucks" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/15/2006 10:09:00 AM
Monday, August 14, 2006
In case you were wondering about the progress of the diet to make this penguin less rotund, that's the current status. My belt now has to be pulled a notch tighter and is a bit loose even then, it won't be long before that next notch has to be used.
What I'm doing:
- Chop your calories drastically. Figure 1000-1200 calories. Aim for 1000, but don't get upset if you miss it by a couple hundred.
- Get enough protein to maintain muscle mass. If, for example, your lean weight is 150 pounds, you should get 75 grams of protein. That's about 300 calories worth of protein.
- Don't worry about how much of the remaining calories is fat or carbohydrates. You need both, but with the protein imbalance implied by the above, it'll work itself out.
- The chances of a balanced diet with such a restricted diet are slim to none. So take vitamin supplements.
- Caffeine is your friend.
- Don't worry about the calories in a teaspoon of sugar for your black coffee or tea, just make it a *flat* teaspoon.
- Even better, drink Chinese leaf tea. This tea doesn't need sugar to taste good. Tastes kinda like asparagus.
- Look at the number of calories on the side of a can of Coke. Run screaming in other direction. No soft drinks or juices, sorry, except for maybe one single Diet Coke per day (that artificial sweetener stuff is bad for you). Can't hit your protein numbers with these empty calories in your diet. Re: Vitamin C: That's why you're taking the vitamin supplement, remember?
- Dairy products are empty calories, other than the calcium. You'll never hit your protein numbers with dairy products in the mix. Take calcium supplements.
- For fast food, the only realistic choice is Subway. Get a turkey & ham sub with *no cheese*, it's around 300 calories for a 6" and 600 calories for a 12".
- Do some mild weight work a couple times a week, including abdominal crunches and leg work. You're trying to maintain your current muscle mass, not put on muscle (which isn't happening with such a restricted diet). Once you're down to your target weight, then you can add more calories to your diet and try to put on more muscle to perk up your resting metabolism, but when you're losing weight is not the time for that.
- Tuna is your friend. It is almost pure protein. If your lean mass is 150 pounds and you thus need 75g of protein to maintain that muscle mass, a can of tuna is 33 grams of protein all by itself. If you get the regular tuna (not the albacore), the mercury content isn't a big deal.
- Also interesting is the "Michael Angelo" single-serving lasagna. The meat and cheese lasagna for example is 30 grams of protein and 500 calories. The vegetarian lasagna is 30 grams of protein and 375 calories. There's other good microwavable dishes too under that brand name. This stuff isn't sold as diet food, but does pretty well there.
- Broiled fish is also good. There are single serving microwavable fish dishes that taste quite good. Problem is that this is almost pure protein and a little fat, and only around 150 calories. To round out the protein and carbs, add "vegetarian" beans. I get some beans called 'piquintos' from my local store that are quite filling and around 280 calories for the can.
- If you go off the diet a couple days a week due to, say, a company barbecue, big deal. Just don't go crazy.
So how does that work out? Well, in the morning I get up and fix a large mug of Earl Gray tea with a flat teaspoon of sugar. When I get to work I get a large mug of coffee with a flat teaspoon of sugar. For lunch, I eat a large ham-and-turkey sub (600 calories) or tuna and noodles (500 calories), and wash it down with Chinese green tea. For supper, meat lasagna, or chicken Parmesan, or fish and beans, or if I got the ham and turkey sandwich, vegetable lasagna. If I feel like I'm munchy still, a pickle or a salad with light vinegrette hits the spot.
Strangely enough, by keeping up the protein, I don't feel particularly hungry.
Is this a balanced diet? Well, *NO*. So you don't want to stick too tightly to it for a long period of time, take a break for one or two days a week and eat more normally with all the veggies and etc. Just don't go crazy when you decide to take a break. Keep off the empty carbs (no sugar soft drinks, no ice cream) and keep your protein up.
So how does this compare with fad diets? Well, it doesn't. A "traditional" low calorie diet is also a fairly low protein diet, so causes rapid loss of muscle mass and resulting lowered metabolism. The Atkins Diet focuses upon carbohydrates as "evil", which to a certain extent is true (you'll never hit your calorie target if you have both high protein *and* empty carbohydrates in your diet), but the real issue is hitting your calorie target while keeping your protein input up, not carbohydrates. I end up roughly 1/3rd protein, 1/3rd fat, 1/3rd carbohydrates if I add up all the numbers, but that's just a side effect of cutting out the junk. When I go off the diet, I end up with more carbohydrates (and correspondingly lower percentage of the other). You need a certain amount of all three in your diet to maintain basic health, so it doesn't make sense to focus on any one of them as "evil".
Anyhow, I'm 5 pounds from the goal I set out for (or 15 pounds from my weight at age 25, which might be nice to shoot for), so I'll check back in a couple of months from now and let ya know how it turned out. I suspect the best goal for me is to aim for the age 25 weight, then go back to a saner diet (still without the empty junk food calories though, those things *hurt* at my age!), hit the gym and add the 10 pounds back on as muscle. Hmm, if I no longer have a penguin belly, will I have to change the title of my blog? :-).
-- Badtux the not-as-rotund Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/14/2006 01:28:00 PM
Friday, August 11, 2006
Bad penguin joke
Two penguins walked into a bar, which was really stupid cause the second one should have noticed.
-- From the Internets
Posted by: BadTux / 8/11/2006 10:30:00 PM
Beware the Shampoo of Mass Destruction!
Big in the news cycle lately have been the "Shampoo Bombers" (hat tip to Da Fixer for that name) over in Limey-land. I didn't post anything about it earlier because all I knew was the same hysterical stuff that was on the news. It was clear to me, as someone with some knowledge of homebrew explosives (no, don't ask) that what they were discussing was pretty far-fetched. While it's easy enough to make home-brew thermite, which would certainly be nasty enough, anything more explosive than that is going to be extremely unstable and difficult to mix in an airliner's bathroom. The "bomber" would be more likely to blow himself up while testing his procedure at home, than he would be to blow up the airliner. While binary explosives are widely available, you simply can't brew them up yourself easily.
Indeed, al Qaeda has in the past explored using bipolar explosives. However, their experience with explosives apparently convinced them that binary explosives and jet airliners don't mix. Thus the boxcutters on 9/11. Why bother with all the muss and fuss of explosives if you can just use boxcutters to hijack the plane?
After digging a bit more, I have this to say:
So why all the propaganda and hype? Well, it's Mencken's Law, of course! Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic see themselves as risking losing power due to the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan. By hyping the threat, they can then do something like, say, ban all liquids and toiletries, to prove they're "doing something" for all that money we're paying them other than looting the treasury for their campaign contributors. Will it work? Well, it's worked so far...
- This was not an al Qaeda plot as such. This was a bunch of wanna-be types. al Qaeda has already researched the notion of using a bipolar explosive and dismissed it as too iffy.
- Their plan would not have worked. The most likely result would have been that they blew themselves up while testing their explosive
- From various details, it appears that the plan was to create an acetone-peroxide explosive. This can be made with hair bleach (peroxide), nail polish cleaner (acetone), and sulfuric acid. Of these, the sulfuric acid is the hardest to get, probably the easiest place to get it is from a lead-acid (car) battery. Note that this is a *very* unstable explosive. It is likely to blow up as they're mixing it in the bathroom.
- All of the chemicals I mention above are easily detectable, and do not require the current draconian restrictions on all foodstuffs and cosmetic items. It is sufficient to ban all non-edible liquids, and require the person to take a swig on any suspicious liquid at the security checkpoint. If smoke starts coming out of his mouth, it's probably safe to say he's a terrorist :-).
-Badtux the Practical Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/11/2006 05:06:00 PM
Israel as a concentration camp for Jews
I was doing some reading of the works of the New Historians, Jewish scholars in Israel who are using Israeli government documents to document the reality as vs. the common myths about the founding of the state of Israel and the beginning of the "Palestinian Problem", and came across an interesting concept by a Jewish professor currently living in Boston: The notion that Israel exists, in essence, as a concentration camp for Jews.
This Jewish professor notes that Israel serves no strategic purpose for the United states. We don't base troops or aircraft there. The IDF has never gone to war alongside the U.S. Army. Why, then, the consistent bipartisan support for Israel? To quote this Jewish professor: What then has Israel done for the U.S.? The only concrete benefit that the State of Israel has provided to the United States is the absorption of millions of Jewish refugees from Europe, Arab countries, the former Soviet Union, and miscellaneous states such as Ethiopia. Most of these Jews would have preferred to live in the United States and in fact applied for admission to the U.S. We were able to turn down their applications for immigration in good conscience. As long as the State of Israel exists, which grants automatic citizenship to any Jew who shows up, we can turn Jews away from our borders without risk of an embarrassing mass killing.
He points out that the Holocaust happened in part because when Eichmann made a tour of European and American capitals in 1937 looking for a country to which he could expel Germany's Jews, not a single one of them would take Germany's Jews. The Nazis killed the Jews because nobody else wanted them -- not the Arabs, not the British, not the Americans. Quote: Nazi Germany's "Final Solution" was a solution to the problem of "there are no countries that are willing to accept Europe's Jews", not to the problem of "we really enjoy killing Jews and how can we kill as many as possible?". As hundreds of thousands of German Jews pleaded for visas at the U.S. Embassies in Europe as they tried to escape the fate of those sent to the concentration camps to die, America's reaction was... [crickets].
After the war, hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust were interned in "Displaced Person Camps" in Europe little different from the concentration camps the Germans had placed them in. Indeed, in some cases they were the exact same concentration camps from which the Jews had been "liberated" in the first place. Once again, no nation wanted them. Not Britain, not France, not Poland or any of the other nations of Europe, and definitely not America, which did not want any unseemly "kikes" to clutter up their national conscience.
In desperation, the Jewish people turned to the Irgun and other Jewish groups attempting to establish a Jewish state in ancient Israel. Zionism previously had been a little-supported movement amongst the Jewish people, but events had apparently made it the only way out. This was met with a harsh reaction by the British, who boarded hundreds of cargo vessels full of Jewish refugees that were bound for Palestine, turned them around, and interned the Jews attempting to get to Palestine in new concentration camps on Cyprus.
As knowledge of the Holocaust became more known, keeping Jews in concentration camps became less and less palatable to the American people (it was fine with the Europeans though). But accepting those "filthy kikes" into America was even less palatable to the American people. What to do? Well, President Truman had a solution: A new concentration camp for the Jews. A bigger one. One that didn't look much like a concentration camp. Throw all the Jews over there into that new concentration camp, toss a bunch of WWII weapons over the fence, and tell'em that this land was theirs, all they had to do to keep and hold it was toss off the previous inhabitants (who had been living there for over 1500 years, but hey, what's a few hundred years amongst friends?). Lacking any better alternative, that's exactly what they did.
What is the future for Israel? This professor doesn't hold out much hope. The Arab war on Israel is now in its 53rd year and the fact that the Israelis have hung on for so long is primarily a testament to spectacular Arab incompetence. Relying on an opponent's military incompetence is not a viable long-term strategy. He points out that in 1948, the Arab armies were made up of illiterate tribesmen who barely knew how to shoot their weapons and certainly had no understanding of modern tactics and technology, but that Arab armies in every war since have shown better and better capabilities. He points out, for example, that Egypt's army in 1973 succeeded in destroying hundreds of Israeli tanks and aircraft and was defeated only by the brave actions of Israeli commando teams swimming the Suez Canal and sneaking behind Egyptian lines to launch a surprise attack against Egypt's SAM batteries, which had previously been keeping Israel's air force from joining the fray. Once the IAF had air superiority, that was the end of the Egyptian invasion... but one alert Egyptian watchguard could have squashed the whole plan. In other words, Israel won in 1973 due to good luck, which, he implies, is not a long-term strategy for survival. And he points out that Egypt today is even more modern and powerful than it was in 1973.
So why haven't the Arabs launched a new attack since 1973, he asks? Well, that one is simple. At Tel Nof there is a fighter squadron. This squadron is called "The Black Squadron" and consists of F-15 fighter jets modified to carry nuclear bombs. Until they have nuclear weapons of their own, he states, the Arab states will not start any war against Israel. Which is why Iran's weapons program is driving Israel and its supporters to distraction...
So why does the United States continue to support Israel? Simple. Just look at the published plans of Hamas etc.: ...it seems worth considering what would transpire if the Muslims were to win. The published post-victory plans of the Arabs call for deporting all the Jews who weren't in Israel prior to 1947 back to where they came from. Now, somehow I doubt the 500,000 descendents of German and Polish Jews are going to flock back to Berlin, even if the Germans or Poles would let them back in (hint: they won't). Similarly, the 800,000 descendents of Arab Jews who fled to Israel in 1948 are not going to go back to Arab countries which are now on record as hating Jews, and the 1,200,000 Israeli immigrants from Russia... do you think they want to go back to Russia? Do you think the Russians would let them back in? HAH! Reality is that if we (the United States) would not accept these Jews, then the Arabs would implement a "final solution" upon them. And the American people would like that even less than they'd like accepting all these "dirty kikes" into America.
In short: American support of Israel is a BRIBE, to keep all those unwashed dirty filthy Jews off of our shores, according to this Jewish scholar. The hilarious thing about U.S. support for Israel, he states, is that it is motivated at its most base by anti-Semiticism. Certainly it is true that the Jewish lobby is quite effective in the United States. But there are only 5.2 million Jews in the United States. This is hardly a large enough constituency to explain the bipartisan support that Israel has in Congress.
But if you consider the notion that these 5.2 million Jews are aligning with 150 million Jew-haters who want Israel and its 5 million Jews to remain where they are because otherwise Fort Lauderdale becomes New Israel... well, then it becomes clearer.
Now you may have an inkling of why the United States consistently supports dictators in the Middle East, and is quick to support the destruction of the few democracies in the Middle East (Lebanon and Iran being the only two such examples at the moment). Dictators are prone to pilfering the wealth of their nation and hauling it off to numbered bank accounts elsewhere. Dictators don't spend a lot on educating their populance or building infrastructure inside their country. A democracy, on the other hand, tends to spend considerable money on the infrastructure of civilization -- schools, roads, factories, etc. Which would result in a growth in the power and wealth of the Arab states as they modernized.
In short, Arab nations must be kept backwards under repressive dictatorships so that Americans aren't forced to confront their own anti-semitism.
Hopefully this should enlighten you as to why the government of the United States has absolutely no problem with the State of Israel making 1,000,000 Lebanese homeless, destabilizing the Lebanese government, and killing thousands of Lebanese civilians. It has nothing to do with Washington D.C. being "Israeli Occupied Territory", no more than in 1973 when Richard Nixon was caught on tape referring to the Israelis as "kikes". It's all about anti-semiticism, in the end -- a prosperous Lebanon serving as model for the Middle East threatens to produce a prosperous and democratic Middle East with the economic and military ability to fulfill their plan of ejecting the Jews, thereby creating an immigration crisis where the United States has to accept 5,000,000 "filthy kikes" that would buy up all the best land in Fort Lauderdale. Ironic, hmm? Sure makes a lot more sense than calling Washington D.C. "Israeli occupied territory", anyhow...
- Badtux the Investigating Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/11/2006 01:25:00 PM
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Bow before your furry masters!
That is all.
-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/10/2006 01:56:00 PM
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Whine, whine, whine
Those ungrateful veterans are at it again. Oh sure, lotsa veterans have brain injuries due to the nature of the war in Iraq, but why in the world are they so upset that the budget for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center is being cut from $14 million dollars last year to $7 million dollars this year?
"Honestly, they would have loved to have funded it, but there were just so many priorities," says Jenny Manley, spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee. "They didn't have any flexibility in such a tight fiscal year."
Look, here's the deal. ADM is getting $4 billion dollars worth of corn subsidies this year. So why, you ask, can't we just take $7 million dollars out of that $4 billion dollars and give it to veterans instead?
But look, doing that just makes those slacker veterans into Communist freeloaders! Look, ADM paid for that $4 billion dollars, giving millions of dollars in donations to congressional leaders. How much money are those brain-injured veterans giving to congressional leaders? Yeah right, they want money they haven't paid for! ADM bought and paid for that $4 billion dollars fair and square! Why should veterans get money that ADM has bought and paid for?! Why, if those brain-injured veterans want to get more money, they need to pay for it, just like everybody else!
Remember, if you really want to support our troops, the way to do it is to make them stand on their own two feet -- or, err, their own two stumps -- and pull themselves up by their bootstraps -- or, err, their prosthetics. Otherwise you're just encouraging them to be lazy slackers who want something for nothing!
Support our troops! Cut veteran's benefits! Our veterans have no bread? Let them eat cake!
-- Badtux the Republican Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/09/2006 04:36:00 PM
Dead Children, my second novel, has now hit the 25% done mark, and is moving much faster now. Kathy has mellowed out a bit since the first novel -- heck, for half of the second novel she isn't even going to be carrying any kind of deadly weapon -- but she still has enough quirks to make things interesting...
Posted by: BadTux / 8/09/2006 12:44:00 AM
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Delay promises to do "whatever it takes"...
Tom Delay promises to do "whatever it takes" to get his name off the ballot, after the Supreme Court refused to hear his case for naming a new Republican nominee.
My understanding is that Texas law allows taking a name off the ballot only in the event of the death of the candidate.
Hmm... should we be putting a suicide watch on Tom Delay right now?!
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/08/2006 08:50:00 PM
Drunk driver kills penguins
A true tragedy in east Texas -- a truck driver driving a truckload of penguins in refrigerated comfort to Galveston Beach so they could frolic in the waves and hold all-night beer keggers much like George W. Bush did while valiantly defending Galveston Beach from the Viet Cong hordes, managed to topple her truck. One penguin died in the accident, and three others were deliberately run over by East Texas drivers who said "yeehaw, maw, lookit them thare funny-lookin' chickens! Fried chicken for dinner, yeehaw!".
Hey, it's rough out there for a penguin :-}. Not as rough as it would have been for the Texas State Police if the previous truck, carrying the snakes and alligators, had crashed, but do you know just how hot it is in East Texas this time of year?! Whew!
The good news is that twenty-one penguins survived, and were carried in refrigerated comfort onward to Galveston Beach. Their buddy the octopus, who they brought with them in order to hold their beach umbrellas, luckily survived. Party hearty, fellow flightless waterfowl!
-- Badtux the Party Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/08/2006 04:37:00 PM
Deja vu all over again
Listening to the right-wing blogosphere dismiss reports of atrocities by the Israeli military in Lebanon and the U.S. military in Iraq, I got a real sense of deja vu. "I've heard all this before, somehow," I said to myself. Then I remembered...
Numerous veterans came back from Vietnam reporting massacres and atrocities there. They were called "liars", accused of having an "anti-American agenda", of "being in the pay of the Communists", sometimes even accused of never having been at the places where the atrocities supposedly occurred. In the few cases where someone was actually prosecuted, the atrocities were described as "the actions of a few bad apples", the exception, rather than the rule. A concerted propaganda program run out of the Nixon White House was quick to dredge up any lies necessary in order to discredit those who brought out evidence of atrocities in Vietnam, much as a concerted propaganda program run out of the Bush White House and Mossad is quick to dredge up any old lies necessary to discredit those who today are reporting atrocities in Iraq and Lebanon.
The problem is, those reports of atrocities in Vietnam were true. All that stuff that the right-wingers were spewing then -- that the Vietnam Veterans for Peace movement was a bunch of liars, that they had never been to Vietnam, that they were in the pay of Communists, that there were no atrocities other than a few bad apples... all of that turned out to be utter nonsense. Hundreds of atrocities were verified by U.S. military investigators, as shown from military records and probably thousands more were never even reported, much less investigated. In many cases, the military had already verified the truth of an atrocity report at the same time that Nixon's people were simultaneously painting the GI who reported the atrocity as a liar, as a Communist, and so forth.
It's deja vu all over again. Today, once more, hundreds of brave reporters and whistle-blowers are branded as "traitors" or worse for uncovering misdeeds on the part of the U.S. and Israeli military. Once more, a hoard of willing sycophants is more willing to believe known liars than the people who tell the truth, or to dismiss the scale of the atrocities as "just a few bad apples" rather than something rampant and widespread with command approval. Once more, justice will be denied for both the victims and for those who exposed the atrocities. It's deja vu all over again. And frankly, I'm sick of it.
-- Badtux the Sickened Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/08/2006 01:28:00 PM
Monday, August 07, 2006
Is Iran working on nuclear weapons?
The answer is yes. But Iran's nuclear weapons program has nothing to do with the light-water reactor under construction by the Russians, or the uranium enrichment plant which they're building. Instead, the center of their nuclear weapons program is the heavy-water reactor under construction at Arak.
It is hard to enrich uranium to weapons-strength. U-235 (the stuff that goes boom) and U-238 (which it is mixed with in nature) are chemically identical, thus the only way to separate them is mechanically, by taking advantage of the fact that U-238 is very slightly heavier than U-235. This is hard, because less than 1% of raw uranium ore is U-235, but you need 85%+ to make a reasonable bomb, whereas you only need to enrich to roughly 3% to power a light-water reactor. It took 10% of the GDP of the United States to manage to enrich enough uranium for one single bomb (the one that took out Hiroshima). It is easy, on the other hand, to irradiate U-238 (natural uranium) enough in a heavy water reactor to produce Pu-239 via neutron bombardment, and it is child's play to chemically separate Pu-239 from U-238 (since they are chemically different elements, unlike U-235 and U-238). You don't even need to start with enriched uranium to fuel the reactor, since a heavy water plant will operate on natural (unenriched) uranium.
So if this is where the Iranian nuclear weapons plant is, why, then, is the Bush Administration all upset about a light-water plant that isn't useful for making nuclear weapons? One answer might be that the Bush Administration is populated by a bunch of cretins and fools who wouldn't know a light water plant from a heavy water plant from a chia plant. The other thing, I suppose, is that the light-water plant is being built by the Russians, and the Bush Administration still has a Cold War mindset that anything the Russians do must, by definition, be evil. Or maybe they just want an excuse, any excuse, to go after Iran, no matter how stupid their excuse... you never know with this bunch, after all.
-- Badtux the Nuclear Science Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/07/2006 01:31:00 PM
Securing our Promised Land
I have a confession to make: I am a member of an oppressed ethnic group. First, my people were forced to leave their traditional homeland at gunpoint by the world's mightiest empire. Then, my people were nearly exterminated during the 20th century by an oppressive majority which did not like our language or our culture and did everything in its power to exterminate both.
It is clear that there is only one thing to do regarding this situation: Move to the traditional homeland of our people and engage in ethnic cleansing against all those who are not members of my oppressed ethnic group. They will be forced out of their homes at gunpoint and pushed into the sea (or at least into waiting cargo ships which we will arrange for their transport to other lands).
There are those who say this would be evil. All I have to say is that there are a dozen nations on this world for English-speaking people, but we Cajun French don't have even one nation of our own. I know Canada will be upset when we reclaim Acadia as our home, and will likely send in all five of their soldiers to try to drive us out, and when that fails, refer to our homeland on the map as "Occupied Nova Scotia" rather than its proper name of "Acadia", but for two hundred years we have been the victims of a concerted attempt at genocide including punishing and beating children for speaking our native language, so any action on our part is justified, even the slaughtering of Anglo women and children by our mighty Pirogue tanks and Boudin jet fighters. I know that it will be hard for Anglos to understand when the Evangeline Gang starts blowing up homes and government offices in our promised land of Acadia, but look -- where we are right now is going underwater due to global warming. We need a homeland. And you nasty cockroach Anglos will just have to get out of our way.
-- Badtux the Cajun Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/07/2006 11:52:00 AM
Friday, August 04, 2006
It even has a built-in EMAIL program that rocks too! So no need for Eudora or Thunderbird, Opera does it all.
If you are still running those old buggy virus-spreading programs like Internet Explorer/Outlook Express or Firebird/Thunderbird, go give Opera a try. They've never had a virus target them, and the program has some pretty nifty features.
- Badtux the Computer Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/04/2006 09:15:00 PM
A penguin's recipe for peace on Earth
Why is the Middle East always such a mess, this penguin wonders? Personally, I think it's simple: the problem is religion. Specifically, the particular deity that everybody in that area worships.
The problem is that everybody in that area worships a great sky demon, rather than a penguin. Said great sky demon has a nasty habit of destroying cities with fire, turning people into salt pillars, killing the first-born children of entire nations, ordering one sect of His followers to kill all the members of another sect of His followers, that kind of thing. Nasty fellow. Whereas if they worshipped a penguin, then they'd worship something with a habit of eating herring and sitting around watching the sky, whose most strenuous activity is marching 50 miles for sex. And let's face it, if you're marching 50 miles for sex, you don't have a lot of energy left for making war on others.
Anyhow, that's how this penguin sees it. What we need is herring. Lots of herring. And ice skating rinks. That's my recipe for world peace -- herring and ice-skating rinks. I think that if everybody ate herring for lunch and spent their afternoons satiated and blissful, then spent their evenings twirling on the ice, then they would never decide that hey, they deserve this particular chunk of land more than that other sect.
Of course, Tuxology does have its own schisms, the most dire of which are the Rawists vs. the Kipperists, so it may be that Tuxology eventually joins the rank of full-fledged religions, complete with holy wars and attempts at genocide. But somehow I doubt it. Worshipping a penguin just doesn't arouse the same kind of martial spirits as a Great Sky Demon does.
-- Badtux the Tuxologist Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/04/2006 02:23:00 PM
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Civil War in Iraq
We're there. It's not something that Iraq is descending into. We're there. And the next question is: Now what?
The only solution I have to the mess is one that's not too optimistic: Put a wall around the place, throw raw meat over the wall from time to time, let them fight it out until they're tired of fighting, then make friends with whoever wins.
Unfortunately, that's a long-term problem. It took Lebanon 14 years of civil war before the various sects there were tired of fighting each other and made peace. Of course, the Palestinians and Israelis and Syrians mucking around in Lebanon didn't help, much as the Iranians and Saudis mucking around in Iraq don't help...
Ronald Reagan was, by and large, a mediocre President, whose sole accomplishment on most days was avoiding nodding off during a cabinet meeting (but sometimes he didn't manage that much). But from time to time he did wake up and do something right, and one of those things was to get our troops the hell out of the Lebanese civil war and let the Lebanese do what the Lebanese had to do to get all that shit out of their system without our troops being targets in the middle of all that shit. The irony is that after the vast majority of the Lebanese got tired of war and spent 15 years in peaceful (if sometimes uneasy) coexistence, a tiny minority in the south did one stupid thing, and Israel brought war to them all over again...
Let'em fight it out. It's the only thing we can do. There will be a lot of dead bodies, but at least they won't be American bodies, and there won't be $100 billion a year worth of American gold down the drain trying to suppress a civil war that isn't going to end until they all fight it out and get it out of their systems. Mucking around in other peoples' civil wars never works out well. It didn't work out well when we supported the White Russians against the Reds in Russia in 1918, it didn't work out well when we supported the Catholics in South Vietnam against just about everybody else in Vietnam, it didn't work out well when we intervened in Lebanon's civil war, and it isn't going to work out any better in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the bodies will pile up, far more bodies than Saddam Hussein piled up during his long time of keeping the populance from killing each other, but what the hey, we overthrew Saddam and that's good, right? Too bad we didn't have the foggiest notion what to do after we overthrew Saddam, but hey, remember, results don't count in Bushevik America, only intentions, and our intentions were good, right?
-Badtux the Unoptimistic Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/03/2006 11:13:00 PM
A penguin's guide to comparative religion
In the spirit of ticking off just about everybody on the planet, I hereby present this comparative religion guide for your edification or edumacashion or something like that. I divide the religions into some seperate classes. Today, I start off with the monotheistic religions:
Coming up next: Polytheistic religions. If one invisible sky demon isn't enough, have more!
- The Invisible Sky Demon Religions: These religions worship an invisible demon in the sky. This invisible demon has a habit of destroying cities with fire and brimstone, afflicting plagues upon innocent people, etc., and tells its followers to kill everybody who doesn't worship the demon in the same way that they do. The followers of this invisible sky demon have divided themselves into a bewildering number of sects, all of which believe that members of their sect are the one true follower of the Invisible Sky Demon and all other sects are heretics who should be condemned to perpetual pain and torture, but there are three main branches of invisible sky demon worshipers:
- Jews. These believe that they are the chosen people of the Invisible Sky Demon, granted a Promised Land by Him in the Middle East in a land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And chosen they seem to have been -- chosen to have their homeland overrun multiple times by invaders who are marching from the Middle East to Egypt or vice-versa, chosen to be dispersed across the known world by one of those invaders (the Romans) and never to see their Promised Land for over 1500 years, chosen to be the victims of multiple attempts at extermination at the hands of Spaniards, Russians, and Germans, and nowdays chosen to occupy a tiny state in the middle of hostile people who continually blow themselves up in public places inside the tiny state and continually fire rockets and artillery shells into the tiny state from outside. If this is what being "chosen" by the Invisible Sky Demon entails, count this penguin out. They've divided themselves into a bewildering number of sub-sects, but all of them basically have the same belief in their chosen-ness and relish their chosen-ness, despite all historical evidence that being chosen by the Invisible Sky Demon apparently isn't such a good thing.
- Christians. This sect originated from a cult called the Nazarenes that was apparently founded by some guy named Joshua somewhere near the present-day Israeli-Lebanese border. The Nazarenes were themselves an offshoot of another Jewish cult called the Essenes, which concerned itself with questions of ethics and morality, thus the Beautitudes ("blessed are the meek in spirit" etc.) and the "do unto others as you would have others do unto you" stuff. At some point in time, Joshua the Nazarene became Jesus of Nazareth, the former being the "son" of the Invisible Sky Demon and the latter being a fictitious town ginned up by early bishops of the Christian church in order to scam ignorant tourists with guided tours of their founder's unknown hometown. Over time, the followers of this branch of the invisible sky demon cult have divided themselves into an astonishing number of sects, who occupy themselves primarily by attempting to condemn the members of other sects of this religion to eternal flames and torture, either on this world or in some other invisible world. Astonishingly, they do so even while professing to abide by their founder's own words, which explicitly prohibit that kind of stuff. When not killing each other over differences in how they worship their invisible sky demon (see: Thirty Years War), they spend their time killing other worshippers of their Invisible Sky Demon (see: Crusades, Holocaust).
- Islam: This is the most recent offshoot of the worshippers of the Invisible Sky Demon. Their sect started with some guy called Mohammed who wandered too long under the hot desert sun and had some pretty striking visions that he was sure came from the Invisible Sky Demon. As with the "Christians", later followers of this religion give lip service to their follower's principles while following a path that their founder wouldn't recognize. This sect has divided itself into a number of sub-sects just like the Christian sects, all of whom spend as much time fighting amongst themselves as they spend fighting against other worshippers of the Invisible Sky Demon. About the only thing that can be said in their favor as compared to the "Christians" is that they've never engaged in genocide against other followers of the Invisible Sky Demon, though they certainly have discriminated against those followers in the past.
- The holistic spirit religions: These religions don't worship a great sky demon as such, but rather some holistic "God" that is everywhere and is love and peace. Unitarians, Quakers, and Wiccans are three of the more well known of the followers of this religion. These guys don't seem to be all that popular compared with those sky demon follower guys, apparently because they don't believe in putting the sword to anybody who doesn't believe the same thing as they do. I mean, c'mon. A religion that doesn't believe in killing everybody else? What fun is that?
- Scientology: This religion was apparently founded by a science fiction writer who read the Bible and said, "What a bunch of bad science fiction. I can write better science fiction than that!". I do not know the full beliefs of this religion, but it is apparently monotheistic in that it worships a god called The Great Lawyer. They worship The Great Lawyer by having their high priests (called, simply, "lawyers") do something called "file a lawsuit" in their temples (called "courthouses") whenever mentions their cult in a way they don't like. I'd add more to this, but there's a lawyer knocking on my door with a holy scripture of Scientology called "a subpoena" in hand...
- Tuxology: Tuxology is a relative newcomer. Its origins are in the late 1990's, with a founder called "Captain Penguin" who fought for truth, justice, Linux, and really fine herring (buuurrp!). Tuxologists worship The Great Penguin, who created the world and all in it, and who created penguins as His perfect being. Tuxology believes that mankind is a devolved variant of His perfect being (penguins) and that embracing the inner penguin is how Man achieves salvation and enlightenment. The fundamental sacrament of this religion is the Sacrament of the Herring, which occurs every Monday night within their Ice Cathedrals (which are cunningly disguised as ice-skating rinks all around the land - now you know why they are not open to the public on Monday nights!). Recently Tuxologists have schismed over the question of raw vs. kippered -- the Rawists believe that embracing one's Inner Penguin can only be attained by swallowing raw herring whole (without chewing) during the Sacrament of the Herring, while Kipperists believe that He turns the kippered herring into His holy food when it reaches the stomach via a process of transubstantiation similar to that which turns bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ for Catholics, and thus kippered herring, aside from being more palatable and better fitted for increasing the ranks of Tuxologists, is quite acceptable to The Great Penguin. Thus far, unlike the followers of the Invisible Sky Demon, Tuxologists have avoided engaging in holy war over these doctrinal differences. But as time goes by, perhaps this will change and Tuxology will become a full-fledged religion, complete with its own violent genocides and wars.
- Pastafarianism: The followers of this religion worship a Flying Spaghetti Monster who created the universe, starting with a mountain, trees and a midgit [sic]. As far as I can tell, Pastafarianism is the only major religion which has an explanation for why all scientific tests show that the universe was created by a Big Bang and that Mankind evolved from lower beings: His noodly appendage is reaching through the fabric of the universe and altering the results of the tests.
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/03/2006 12:12:00 PM
Hmm, time to buy another domain...
Anybody here have any experience with buying sex-oriented site domains? I want to buy "HotManOnDogSex.com" and point it at the home page of (hopefully soon to be former) Senator Rick Santorum (R. Va.)....
-- Badtux the Mischievous Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/03/2006 12:24:00 AM
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
A penguin in a kingdom of swine
Y'know, I really don't feel like an American anymore. An American believes in "bring it on". An American believes it's fine to demolish a house full of women and children because it's close to a house that a guerilla ran into a few hours ago, just acceptable "collateral damage", as long as the women and children being killed are brown rather than good white Christian folks. An American believes that logic and reason are not valuable, that faith is all (whether traditional Christian or "New Age" is irrelevant, both right and left have their faith-based nuts). I look out upon the vast wasteland of America, and I see a few million people like you and me standing amidst this sea of swine, and I'm saying "What happened? Where's the nation we once believed in?" and wonder, what's the point?
The problem is that you can't run from America. You can't hide from America. I've thought of Canada. I've thought of Central America. But both are held hostage by America. Then there are the poodles, the lickspittle supporters of anything America does no matter how evil, such as Britain and Australia.
Perhaps the "America: Love it or leave it" crowd has a point, that the only rational and moral act for a thinking feeling human being in today's America is just to leave. Leave the kingdom of swine to rut in their ethical and moral mud hole. If you are not a swine, you are not a real American, and should just go elsewhere. It feels like defeat, but in a kingdom of swine, what are a few million people to do from the inside that is really useful?
This is something that's been bothering me for two years now, ever since it became clear that GWB would be re-elected and that the majority of Americans actually didn't have any problem with his actions. What is the proper role of a moral man in a kingdom of swine? Is it to stay amongst the swine and try to lead them back towards humanity? Or is it to leave, allow them to continue to be swine, and assist the rest of the world in the penning of the swine so the swine do not trample the garden? I still haven't found an answer that satisfies me, though I am trying.
-Badtux the Not-a-swine Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/02/2006 05:19:00 PM
Back to Windows (sigh!)
I forgot that the firewall product I need to access the corporate network from home only works from Windows. Sigh! I can attest, however, that Ubuntu Linux runs perfectly on an HP Pavilion DV4000 laptop, and that installing Ubuntu Linux has the side-effect of wiping the disk clean for re-installing Windows XP so that you don't re-infect yourself right back again...
So, I re-installed XP, re-installed the HP applications DVD, then let XP load its updates. Then I installed three products -- an antivirus product, an anti-spyware product, and a firewall product. None of these are from those %^@#$% incompetents at Symantec who made the Norton Antivirus that failed me (those morons aren't getting a dime from me). Then I started re-installing applications from scratch via CD or directly from the web site of the vendor (I did *NOT* install any files from the previous install, since the probability that anything was rootkitted approached unity).
Rather than Firefox and Thunderbird, I am now using Opera and Eudora. Firefox and Thunderbird have over a hundred vulnerabilities listed in the last year alone, and over 20 worms and viruses have been developed to exploit those vulnerabilities. Opera has a total of 17 vulnerabilities listed in the last three years, of which only 4 would allow a system compromise (and none of which were ever exploited before Opera Software closed the hole).
When I get home this evening, I am going to restore my data from my backups. Before I do this, I will first scan everything with the prophylactic software that I just accumulated to make sure there are not, e.g., any macro viruses that have been inserted into word processor files (%@#$ Microsoft! Data files are supposed to be DATA files, not executables!). Note that my backups live on a Linux server, so I don't have to worry about autorun auto-running a virus off of my backups...
Will this stop my laptop from being compromised again? Of course not! Windows suckitude simply can't be patched no matter how many security products you throw at it. But dumping Symantec garbage and zapping Firefox/Thunderbird will certainly help... as for the rest, I will continue to maintain good backups, and foresee yet another system erase/restore cycle at some point in the future before this laptop is retired in May of next year in favor of a new one (mostly because I'm wearing it out -- the letters are starting to wear off of the keys, and the paint on the touchpad has been rubbed off all the way down to the plastic).
Meanwhile, my Ubuntu Linux server simply keeps chugging along... I run apt-get from time to time to update it, and that's that.
-- Badtux the "Windows sucks!" Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/02/2006 01:58:00 PM
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
GAH! Windows Sux, part II
Well, as predicted elsewhere, Norton AntiVirus was utterly ineffective at removing the trojans and backdoors on the system. Another antivirus product similarly threw up its hands and surrendered.
There is one file that I want to save off the system, and then it gets a complete wipe and rebuild from scratch.
One thing I'll note: It appears that Firefox was the culprit that allowed my system to be compromised. Guess it's time to investigate Opera :-(.
Updated 7:49pm -- after checking my backups to make sure they were intact, I am now installing Kubuntu Linux on my laptop. #$%@# Windows! I may install Windows in a virtual machine so I can run various Windows-only software that I own, but as for Windows, Microsoft can go $#%@# themselves...
- Badtux the Compromised Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/01/2006 01:22:00 PM
Pet peeve #151: "U.S. won against British using guerilla tactics"
A commenter says below:
"What's especially interesting is how the American revolutionaries defeated the British in the 1770s. One of the most important aspects of that is that the Americans didn't fight "fair" according to British standards. They didn't line up in opposing lines and mow each other down with musket fire. Those dastardly Americans would camoflage themselves and hide behind trees, rock walls, and hills, and snipe away at the British."
Unfortunately, said commenter is basically repeating propaganda. The fact of the matter is that both Colonial and British forces used a variety of tactics to conduct their war, and skirmishing tactics such as used above were common on both sides of the aisle. The only halfway-effective guerilla warfare during the conflict occurred in the Carolinas when Colonel Francis Marion of the South Carolina militia used guerilla tactics to disrupt enemy communications, capture supplies, and free prisoners. However, he did not use those tactics in any attempt to stop Cornwallis's march. It would have been suicide.
To understand why this is so, you must first understand the limitations of the available weapons of the time. There were basically three types of weapons available:
The "queen of the battlefield" was the cannon. Cannon could fire a hundred yards or more with grapeshot that could decimate a company of attacking soldiers. Cannon had one vulnerability -- lack of maneuverabily which made them vulnerable to being rushed by the opponent between shots and captured. Still, American militia without cannon who faced British soldiers with cannon generally broke ranks and ran in the opposite direction.
- Fowling pieces. These were large-bore muzzle-loading shotguns, typically with a large funnel on the tip of the barrel to allow easily pouring the shot into the gun after you'd poured in the powder and wadding. They were fired off via a flintlock mechanism. They required a significant amount of black powder and shot, had a maximum range of perhaps 20 yards, and were not widely regarded as effective military weapons due to those issues.
- Rifles. These were muzzle-loading weapons where the bullet was pounded into the rifled lands via a hammer and a rod. The stereotypical rifle of the period was the "Pennsylvania Flintlock". This was designed as a large-game rifle rather than as a defensive weapon, and thus had several attributes that rendered it useless as anything other than a sniper rifle: it had no bayonet mount, it had an extremely low rate of fire (taking perhaps a full minute to reload between shots), and you could fire it perhaps a maximum of three times before the barrel became so fouled from black powder debris that you had to stop and spend several minutes cleaning the residue out of the barrel before you could resume firing. These limitations mean that it was used solely as a skirmishing weapon, where skirmishers would fire a shot then fall back to the main body of troops. There was only one battle in the American Revolution (Cowpens) where the skirmishers were important to the outcome, and that was mostly by accident and mostly because they appeared apparently out of nowhere and panicked the British into surrendering.
- Muskets. These were smoothbore weapons which could be swiftly loaded with ball ammunition. Downside: They were horribly inaccurate and short-ranged with a maximum effective range of perhaps 50 yards. The only tactics that made sense was to stand in ranks and mass your fire, in hopes that the sheer weight of lead flying at the enemy disrupted their lines before they could be amongst you with their bayonets.
Given the limitations of the weapons available at the time, the most important weapon of any military battle was the bayonet. Your enemy would get perhaps three shots at you in the time it took you to rush him with the bayonet. If you managed to keep a cohesive line, you could then generally throw him over with the force of your rush. The bayonet was also important in holding off calvary. Calvary was fast enough that you'd generally only get one shot at them before they were amongst you with your sabers... but if you held ranks and bristled with bayonets, the horses would shy away and allow your rear ranks to open fire on a now-stationary target.
Needless to say, all of this meant that almost all battles -- whether by the revolutionary army or by the British army -- were fought in conventional format, by soldiers fighting in ranks. The limitations of the weapons available simply made that the most effective way to fight. The notion of the American soldiers "hiding behind trees, rock walls, and hills, and sniping away at the British" applied mostly only to a single battle that was mostly just a skirmish -- Lexington and Concord -- and mostly was applicable only because the British commander in that instance had been overconfident and had sent an under-strength force without its usual company of skirmishers. If the British unit had been at full strength with their usual company of skirmishers, they would have slaughtered the colonials in much the same way they did in New York when the colonials attempted to use the same tactics there against the British landing, by using the hammer vs. anvil approach where the skirmishers fanned out in front of the main van of the force and killed the colonial skirmishers from behind or pinned down the colonial skirmishers until regulars could charge and skewer them with bayonets. All of this was tactics that the British (AND the colonials) had learned during the long war with the French and the Indian allies of the French, and was standard military doctrine regardless of which side you were on.
In the end, the weapons available to you dictate your tactics, and the weapons available during the American Revolution dictated that it would be fought by professional militaries maneuvering in ranks, even within wooded or high-cover areas. It was not until the widespread availability of AK-47 variants, RPG's, etc. that it became truly feasible for a guerilla army using so-called "unfair tactics" to take on an organized army in modern warfare. Civilian weapons simply lack the rate of fire and stopping power to be particularly useful against a 3rd-generation armored force in that sort of war.
-- Badtux the Military Penguin
Posted by: BadTux / 8/01/2006 12:34:00 PM
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